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Pills-1 Food: Green juicing

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Pills-1 Food: Green juicing

April 28, 2024, 11:04 AM IST 

Based on my experience in various health groups, I’d like to share four key insights:

1. Ease of Adoption: 

Some health advice is easier said than done. For example, consuming green leafy vegetables without using oil or ghee is challenging in Indian cuisine, where saag is a common preparation requiring these fats.

2. Dietary Changes: 

It is often hard to give up our favorite foods even when we know they are unhealthy. However, introducing tasty, healthy options can naturally displace less healthy choices.

3. Impact of Changes:

Gradual changes often yield less noticeable improvements which can lead to a loss of confidence. Making a few dramatic changes can keep these efforts top of mind and encourage persistence.

4. Ripple Effects:

A single conscious change can lead to multiple subconscious improvements and accrue significant benefits. For example, starting a daily walking routine led me to naturally reject calorie-dense snacks like cookies and donuts, mindful of the effort I’d put into walking.

Why Green Juice?

Green leafy vegetables are high in nitrates, which help release Nitric Oxide in the bloodstream, unclogging blood vessels and reducing blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.

When I discussed dietary guidelines I mentioned that we need to consume a minimum 1% of our body weight in vegetables and half of that should be in green leafy vegetables. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn suggests six daily servings of green leafy vegetables for heart patients, including notable individuals like Bill Clinton. Given the culinary habits in India where salads are uncommon, I recommend juicing as a practical alternative, although it’s second to consuming greens raw or blanched.

I recommend watching the documentaries “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” available on Netflix, and “Super Juice Me” on YouTube. These showcase dramatic health transformations through extended juice fasts. Inspired by these, I started with a five-day juice fast 11 years ago that transformed my life.

One should start with a 3-5 day juice fast, consuming 8-12 ounces of juice four to five times a day. After that continue with three glasses daily 15-20 minutes before meals to maximize health benefits until you can reduce or eliminate chronic medications.

The main goal here is to consume large quantities of green leafy vegetables (fruits should be eaten as a whole or to just make vegetable juice tastier). Juicing makes it easy.

Selecting A Juicer

As green juicing is an important component in my dietary recommendations the selection and purchase of a juicer should not be delayed, especially for people who are on medications or want to lose weight.

Consider hydraulic, double helical screw, and single augur juicers based on your budget and needs. Avoid high-speed centrifugal juicers as they can degrade nutrients and are less effective with leafy greens.

For patients who are critically ill, it is advisable to consume juice with minimum pulp. It is light on their stomach and for the same amount of fullness, they can consume more nutrients. (Not sure you need the last line re: cancer here since you mention critically ill above).

Do You Lose Fiber?

A question often asked is “aren’t you removing fiber in juicing?”

The answer is that there are two types of fiber- soluble and insoluble. Juicing retains soluble fiber and some of the insoluble fiber as well. One should eat fruits as a whole and juice only vegetables. You can add some fruit to enhance the taste and yes Granny Smith apples because they have enzymes that help digest green leafy vegetables.

There is a saying: First thing in the morning, if you poop before you finish peeing; you are in good health. You soon will experience that.

Green Juice Recipe

Before diving into the recipe, it’s important to note that there isn’t a strict chemical composition required for making juice. Unlike the precise formulations often found in Ayurveda, the primary aim of juicing is to enjoy consuming green leafy vegetables in a tasty beverage, rather than enduring a bitter concoction solely for health benefits. Since everyone’s taste preferences vary, feel free to adjust the ingredients according to your liking. The goal is to create a juice that’s so delicious, your guests will ask for a second glass.

Consider the recipe as consisting of three main groups of vegetables, along with some seeds:

1. Apples and Spice Group: This includes four Granny Smith apples (or any other suitable juicing apples), two lemons, and two thumb-sized pieces of ginger.

2. Hydration Group: Comprising one bunch of celery, one large English cucumber (or two medium regular cucumbers), and/or lettuce. This group provides most of the juice’s water content, and you can easily double these ingredients if desired.

3.Leafy Greens Group: Choose any combination of one to three of the following: kale, chard, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, beetroot greens, cabbage, etc. (2-3 bunches total). Alternatively, for a variation, replace this group with carrots and beetroots.

Enhance your juice by adding some flax seeds, chia seeds or hemp seeds. These seeds not only fulfill part of your Omega-3 needs but also provide fats that aid in nutrient absorption. Don’t hesitate to include other non-starchy vegetables like bottle gourd, butter melon, raw turmeric, and mint. There are no restrictions—let your taste buds guide you!Here is a typical green juice mixture in my kitchen. See in the picture from left to right:

Chard, Kale, Arugula, Bottle Gourd, Romaine lettuce, Celery, Cucumber, Lemon, Ginger, Beetroot, Raw Turmeric root, Green apple, Carrot and Fenel.

Shelf Life

Juice can be stored safely in airtight glass bottles in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours or frozen for longer storage, leaving space for expansion.

Organic vs Nonorganic

Always thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables. Seek organic sources if possible, but don’t avoid conventional produce out of fear of pesticides; the benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables outweigh the potential risks.

I recommend that you find good sources of organic produce. See if there is a farmers market near you. Some organic farms have now started delivering fresh produce at home. There are also community farms who deliver produce every week. I strongly recommend that you befriend your grocer more than your doctor. He is more important in your life. Next Diwali give him a box of dry fruits. He will remember you and always tell you if a particular produce is not good and should be avoided.

 Juice vs Smoothy

This is one of the most frequently asked questions and there clearly is big confusion on this subject, so I have decided to dedicate a post to this. Before proceeding I want to make it clear that eating leafy greens raw as salad or blanched is the best option. The chewing action in the mouth mixed with saliva provides the most nutrition and absorption. Fruits ofcourse shoul always be eaten as whole fruits except some green apples (Granny Smith variety in US as they have enzymes that help digest green leafy vegetables) which should be added to green juice. So the question is only, what is the second best option.

1. Smoothies require high speed blending, this makes the air oxidize the nutrients. So you have some nutrient loss due to oxidization.

2. Because you have to mix a cup of water to start the process and because the pulp is retained, there are only half as many nutrients in a glass of smoothie as opposed to a glass of juice.

3. Because of air and insoluble fiber you can not consume much smoothie and make up for reduced nutrients by drinking more. On the contrary the juice feels less filling than smoothie.

4. A good juicer retains most of the soluble fiber in juice. Some of the insoluble fiber is also retained in small particles that go through the screen. The remaining insoluble fiber which is rejected, has little nutrient left. It is also not needed for bowl movement because one gets more than enough from juice.

5. Juice does not stay in stomach much and passes through to small intestine quickly. Smoothies need to be digested and remain much longer in the stomach. Smoothies are not a good choice for juice fasts.

6. Juice has a much longer refrigeration shelf life. You can juice only twice a week and store it in airtight glass bottles. It can also be frozen so one can reduce juice making to even once a week.

This post clarifies green juicing, its benefits, and its practical implementation, aiming to promote better health practices and dietary adjustments.

To Read this article on Times of India click here

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